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Instant Pot Tips for Busy Cooks

Instant pot tips can take you from being an okay cook to cooking like a pro. Unquestionably, this handy appliance is a must for anyone who leads a busy life but wants good meals.

Instant Pot box with the pot, directions, recipes, and tips.

You can cook everything from vegetable soup to Mexican chicken rice bowls in an Instant Pot. And you can cook most foods in a fraction of the time it would take to cook on the stovetop or in the oven.

When shopping for an Instant Pot, first determine the size you’ll need. If you’re cooking for one or two people, this 3-quart Instant Pot from Amazon will probably suffice. However, for larger crowds, you’ll need the 6 or 10-quart pot.

I already had the Crock Pot Express multi-cooker that I’ve been using for about a year.

Now that I also have this 6-quart Instant Pot, I can’t tell much difference between the cooked foods. However, there is a difference between the two pots.

Instant Pot and Crock Pot multi-cooker

The Crock-Pot version has a nonstick bowl, while the Instant Pot is made of stainless steel. Both the Instant Pot and the Crock Pot multi-cookers are easy to use and clean afterward. The Instant Pot tips below will work for both of them.

Instant Pot Tips Before You Begin

Before you start using your Instant Pot, learn all of its functions. Granted, most people focus on pressure cooker mode.

However, it takes the place of a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, stovetop, and much more. In fact, it even sautés food.

Printed material that comes with the instant pot, including recipes, times, and directions

Although you need to follow the safety instructions, don’t be afraid of your Instant Pot. Today’s pressure cookers are so much safer than the ones our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used.

If you don’t put the lid on properly, it won’t start. Just as important, once it starts, you can’t take off the lid until some of the pressure is released.

Read the manual and keep it handy until you’re totally comfortable with using the appliance. Many of your questions are answered in the manual.

Tips for Using Your Instant Pot

Make sure you have at least 1/2 cup of liquid in the pot before you turn it on. If you don’t have enough liquid, the Instant pot won’t pressurize properly.

Don’t forget that it takes a little while for it to pressurize. Accordingly, allow at least an additional 10 minutes to the time you expect to cook the meal.

Since dairy scalds easily, don’t add it until you have finished cooking the food.

Never overfill your Instant Pot. This is especially important when you cook foods that foam, such as beans or rice.

The Instant Pot retains all the liquid, and this can make it watery. Therefore, if you want thicker gravy, you’ll need to thicken it after the meal finishes cooking.

No worries if you forgot to thaw something. That’s because you can pull food right out of the freezer and put it in the Instant Pot. Just remember that it takes longer for frozen food to arrive at full pressure, so allow for more time.

You don’t have to do anything in advance. However, if you want to do a little advance meal prep, put the food into round containers before freezing. That way, the food will fit in the Instant Pot straight from the freezer.

Most foods that you can prepare in a slow cooker can also be cooked in your Instant Pot—only faster.

More Instant Pot Tips

In like fashion, most foods that you can cook in the oven can be made in the Instant Pot.

You can make pasta dishes in your Instant Pot. However, you’ll need to put it on top of the other ingredients so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

When you release the steam or open the lid, take care not to have your face too close.

Pick up some custom designed accessories to give your Instant Pot more functionality. Some of the things you can do include cook more than one food at a time, steam foods, and make cakes or cupcakes.

Instant Pot with accessories that come with it.

After Using Your Instant Pot

You can wash the inner pot in the dishwasher, thus saving time during cleanup. However, you’ll still need to wash the lid by hand. You can also wipe down the exterior of the appliance to remove splatters and spills.

Purchase extra seals because they need to be changed out periodically. Also, you might want to switch them between savory and sweet foods.

Store your Instant Pot in an easy-to-access location. After all, this will quickly become your favorite appliance.

Share the Love

After you get comfortable cooking with your Instant Pot, invite some people over for dinner. Show off what you can do with your fabulous appliance. Also, let it work for you to prepare for potlucks.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Instant Pot

Since this is such a popular appliance, you might be curious about some things related to it. It’s one of those things that can perform so many functions, you’ll probably find new ways to fall in love with it over and over.

What Is the Best Thing to Cook in an Instant Pot?

There are so many different dishes you can cook, including soups, stews, beans, meat, potatoes, desserts, and so much more. Many of these one-pot meals can be cooked in an Instant Pot.

How Much Does an Instant Pot Cost?

They vary in price from one retailer to another, and you can often find them on sale. Many stores allow you to use loyalty cash and in-store coupons. The different sizes also have different prices.

What Accessories Should I Buy for My Instant Pot?

When you first bring it home, you have all you need for most dishes.

However, after you get more comfortable with it, you can purchase a variety of accessories. Some of them include stackable steamer pans, silicone cupcake liners, glass lid, sealing rings, and more.

There is so much you can do with an Instant Pot. Don't be afraid to try something new.

More Foods You Can Try in a Pressure Cooker

Don’t be afraid to try a variety of things in this wonderful appliance. Chances are, it will turn out great.

Some other foods you might want to cook in it are ribs and chicken rice casserole. However, the ones shown below were cooked in a slow cooker and in the oven.

Please feel free to share!

Green bean casserole with pimentos
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